Corrective Justice and Redress under Australia’s Racial Vilification Laws

University of Queensland Law Journal (2021) 40(1)

41 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2021

See all articles by Bill Swannie

Bill Swannie

Australian Catholic University

Date Written: January 22, 2021


This article examines the process for seeking redress under Australia’s racial vilification laws. Recently, the debate concerning pt IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) has focused on unmeritorious complaints and the importance of quickly terminating such complaints. This article argues that pt IIA establishes a civil wrong and that corrective justice provides an appropriate framework for understanding the process by which complainants may seek redress for this wrong. However, the remedial process currently fails to provide corrective justice in two ways. First, conciliation is compulsory and this unduly restricts complainants from commencing proceedings. This is inconsistent with the public character of vilification, which indicates that public vindication may be more appropriate than private settlement. Second, current costs rules may deter complainants from seeking vindication of their rights. Therefore, these rules should be modified in proceedings for racial vilification.

Keywords: Corrective justice, hate speech, race, remedies

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Swannie, Bill, Corrective Justice and Redress under Australia’s Racial Vilification Laws (January 22, 2021). University of Queensland Law Journal (2021) 40(1), Available at SSRN:

Bill Swannie (Contact Author)

Australian Catholic University ( email )

Melbourne, VIC 8001
(03) 9953 3889 (Phone)

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